Matt, Sarah, Markus, Aubrey, Bradley and soon to be here Helia, sit in front of their milkbarn looking at where the high-speed rail might go though their home. There are 3 proposed routes running from Merced to Fresno. Part of route A-1 literally runs up their driveway and though the middle of the dairy facility.
The Stricklands are 4th generation dairy farmers who are hoping they will have a 5th generation on this ranch. Matt grew up on this, his family’s ranch, where he fell in love with agricultural work and the family orientated lifestyle it provides. He attended California State University at Fresno earning his degree in Agricultural Business and a minor in Dairy Science. After graduation he moved onto the Double Creek Ranch, where he worked with is grandfather learning the family business. He now owns the dairy business and leases the ranch from his parents. If this route is chosen he will have to leave the state in order to continue dairying. There just aren’t large pieces of land available here that are appropriate for a dairy, Matt tells me. He also, worries for his employees who would be out of work. Including the families dependant on this ranch and the employees, there will be at least 23 people who will be severely effected if this dairy is destroyed.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is currently in the comment period of the environmental review of their plans. The comment period ends October 13, 2011. A comment can be made at www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov on either or both of the sections running from Merced to Fresno or Fresno to Bakersfield. Public participation is critical for the environmental review process. Comments received during this time will be used to identify issues that require evaluation and additional consideration.
Let’s save our Agricultural land!